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Review: Magic Mike XXL 

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The first Magic Mike, directed with a portentous hand by Steven Soderbergh—he of three Ocean’s movies, yet obviously thinking he was above such tawdry material—was nevertheless a huge hit and, in conjunction with 21 Jump Street, catapulted Channing Tatum onto the A-list. Where the original got bogged down in a sparkless love story and too much Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike XXL—helmed by Soderbergh’s AD, Gregory Jacobs—sticks to the fun parts: dancing, abs, one-liners and camaraderie. The completely ridiculous plot finds the Kings of Tampa—including former wrestler Kevin Nash, Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer—without McConaughey’s Dallas and headed to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach for one last ride. They want Mike, three years out of the game and struggling with his furniture business, back on the team and he agrees. On the way they stop at a house of men-for-rent run by Jada Pinkett Smith and a mansion owned by Andie McDowell. It’s giddily good-hearted, surprisingly feminist—lap dances are received by women of all sizes and races, there is no Entourage-style bro talk—and very, very funny. Tatum and Manganiello in particular are clearly having a terrific time. It’s no Toy Story 2, but as sequels go, Magic Mike XXL is a pony worth climbing on again.

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